Dear St. Andrew’s Community,
Over the course of the summer of 2019, Elizabeth and I had the opportunity to pause and reflect before we embarked on another exciting year at St. Andrew’s. The last twenty-three years have provided us with the honor of leading St. Andrew’s into the 21st century and strengthening its position as one of the best schools in America.
After much deliberation and conversation, we have decided to complete our work at St. Andrew’s in June 2021, two years from now. Our decision and announcement this fall give St. Andrew’s Board of Trustees ample time to find the fifth Head of School in the school’s history.
Our announcement today also intensifies our passion, commitment, and dedication to serving the school over the next two years. We have a lot more work to do: we want to inspire St. Andrew’s to a new exhibition of excellence in this time.
Today, we see a school that has established a momentum that is exciting, vigorous, and inspiring. Our administrative team is strong, diverse, talented, and experienced. Our faculty represent the art of boarding school education at its best, focusing on both academic and human excellence. Our staff bring tremendous commitment, dedication, and expertise to every office and program within the school. Our beloved students are intelligent, generous, kind, responsible, creative, and deeply committed to St. Andrew’s and a public good.
St. Andrew’s, since its founding, has redefined the very purpose and spirit of American boarding schools. We were the first boarding school to create a mission to serve students and families that could not afford private education. Today our financial aid program offers over six million dollars in assistance to families in virtually every socio-economic class in America. Almost fifty percent of our students receive financial aid, and each year we celebrate the energy, broad perspectives, intelligence, and unity that emerge from our diversity.
As St. Andrew’s has moved into its 90th year, the school’s reputation and demonstrated accomplishment continue to provide both strong admissions and college admissions programs. We have found that in the 21st century, students, parents, and college admission officers are searching for a school that cares about both intellectual creativity and moral and ethical commitments to the service of others. We are proud to say that St. Andrew’s graduates bring intelligence, engagement, maturity, and generosity to their lives in college and beyond. They are, individually and collectively, changing the world.
Inspired by the opportunity to create the best teaching and learning academy possible, St. Andrew’s has explored a dynamic and enlightened approach to education. We created the program to inspire intellectual passion and authentic engagement and understanding, relying on our teachers’ expertise and the encouragement and endorsement of college professors who identified the skills and habits of mind they most valued. We not only inspired a new generation of scholars liberated to find their voice, pursue their passions; we also began a movement that led so many St. Andrew’s alumni to honor their school by pursuing careers in public, private, and undergraduate education.
St. Andrew’s culture of philanthropy has grown dramatically as parents, past parents, alumni, trustees, and friends have supported endowment for financial aid, faculty professional development, and essential investments in our physical plant. Our philanthropic spirit now promises to lift St. Andrew’s into the next era in its history.
Most importantly, we are a school with a soul and an abiding spirit of engagement, inclusion, and empathy. As St. Andrew’s has cultivated a powerful and engaging academic program, we connected that work to the goal of deepening our embrace of the human family, emphasizing service to the poor, invisible, and forgotten in the world, supporting urgent efforts to save the earth.
The community has sought to bring school values to the very heart of our daily lives at the school. We fight every day for a community of grace, dignity, and peace. Our students take care of one another and form a peer culture that liberates them to do their most courageous work; they honor and respect the teachers at St. Andrew’s who literally and metaphorically inspire them to live with empathy, kindness, and integrity.
St. Andrew’s has expanded its contribution to a public good: supporting the founding of St. Anne’s Episcopal School and the Delaware College Scholars. We have increased and intensified opportunities in community service throughout the MOT area in education and developed important relationships with Delaware Special Olympics, Andrew’s Place, and Epiphany House in Wilmington. We have stewarded and expanded our 2200 acres as a natural sanctuary, explored important environmental initiatives, created a solar array, protected the health of Noxontown Pond, and acquired key land parcels around the pond and school.
Our Women’s Network conferences and colloquiums have featured explorations of audacious and compelling career paths within our alumni body; our visiting speakers program has brought leaders in America and across the world to St. Andrew's for inspiration, challenge, and education. We will never forget what it meant to welcome speakers like Bryan Stevenson, Paul Farmer, Jesmyn Ward, Diane Nash, Alexander Nemerov, and so many others to the stage in Engelhard Hall.
Each year, the St. Andrew’s ethos inspires Elizabeth and me; it changes us, gives us voice, courage, and intention to fight for goodness, grace, equality, and opportunity in the world. We have met students, colleagues, parents, alumni, Trustees who have inspired our educational vision and helped us remember that schools can and should be transformational, and affirming of the very principles of our democracy.
It is impossible to come up with the best or the perfect moment to leave a career, a calling, a life that has inspired us over five decades. In the end, we decided to leave St. Andrew’s at the very height of our expertise, commitment, and attention.
In this new stage of our life after St. Andrew’s, we want to intensify our fight for quality education for all, particularly for those denied such opportunity; we seek to cultivate moral and ethical leadership, reverence for human rights, and a pursuit for equal justice. We very much want to speak and write about the issues and opportunities within the world of 21st century education. We want to share the passion and wisdom we developed here with endeavors that promote what Abraham Lincoln described as “a new birth of freedom.”
Of course, we will enthusiastically support the school’s search for a new Head of School, and we will make sure that our new leader has the best foundation for success. That is what Jon and Joan O’Brien did for us.
I have been working for some months now on the succession planning process with a special committee of the Board of Trustees. Our commitment to you is to deliver a smooth leadership transition that honors all of the values of St. Andrew's.
We look forward to the next two years of our most passionate and creative service to the school we love. As we get closer to the summer of 2021, we will try to find ways to thank the Trustees, faculty, staff, students, alumni, parents, and friends that together made our career here so powerful and transformational. We love all of you, and we will treasure each day to come within this community.
Daniel T. Roach, Jr.
Merrill M. Stenbeck Head of School
Elizabeth M. Roach
Dean of Teaching and Learning
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